Bookstore sales dipped 1.0% in October compared to a year ago, according to preliminary estimates released this morning by the U.S. Census Bureau. Sales for the month were $774 million, down from $782 million in October 2015.
After a solid first half of the year in which bookstore sales posted steady monthly gains, the second half of 2016 has seen a more up-and-down performance. A number of publishers and booksellers, including Barnes & Noble CEO Len Riggio, cited distractions caused by the presidential election as putting a damper on sales, and are hoping business will improve in the last months of the year.
Even with slowing gains in recent months, bookstore sales were still up 3.5% in the first 10 months of 2016 over the comparable period in 2015. Revenue was $9.77 billion in the January-October period in 2016, compared to $9.43 billion in the same span in 2015.
For the entire retail sector, October sales were up 2.0%, while sales for the first 10 months of 2016 increased 2.9% over 2015.